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7 Tips to Listen Better for Your BIGG Success

listening to a conversation | BIGG SuccessAt most schools, you can take a class in speech communication. You’ll learn how to deliver a topic TO an audience.

The College of Communications at most universities are for journalists, advertisers and film makers. They’re all people wanting to communicate TO you.

You can take English to learn how to write. It’s important to be able to express your thoughts TO your readers.

So is it any wonder that, when many people hear the term “communication”, they think about getting their message out?

Yet communication is a two-way process. Where do you learn how to listen?

At BIGG Success, of course! Today, we’ll share 7 tips to listen better for your BIGG success:

Hear George & Mary-Lynn share these 7 tips on The BIGG Success Show podcast. Click a player to listen.


iPhone/iPad Podcast Player

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Think effectiveness, not efficiency

Communication can never be efficient if it’s not effective. Important conversations deserve your complete attention.

Conversations occur between people. People are important. So every conversation is an important one.

So take a deep breath and relax a little before you begin a conversation.

If you simply know you don’t have time, just say so. It’s better to push off a conversation to a time when you can give it the attention it deserves.

Put away the distractions

Yes, we’re talking about your mobile device. Sorry to tell you this, but you can’t truly listen and text or search at the same time. At least we can’t.

But it’s not just mobile devices. You may have been working on something. It’s right there…right in front of you. You’re deep into it when someone approaches you to talk.

Acknowledge them. If you know you can find a stopping point, let them know it will be a few seconds, or a minute, or whatever you think.

If they can’t wait or you know it will be a while, see if you can agree to a later time.

But when you talk with them, physically set everything else aside so you can give them your undivided attention.

By the way, this is just as true for phone calls as it is in the flesh.

Stop the voices in your head

Do you ever form your response while the other person is talking? If you do, you’re human. If you do, you’re like us.

Stop it! Listen.

Force yourself to do it. It will be uncomfortable at first but eventually it will become a habit.

The sound of silence

We cringe at moments of silence [insert pause here]. But they’re not bad. [insert another pause here].

In fact, if you stop the voices in your head, you’ll need moments of silence. They’re the time to formulate your response.

By giving your brain time to process what you’ve heard, you’ll communicate more effectively and efficiently.

Be sincerely interested

Listening requires you to be genuinely interested in what the other person is saying. If you aren’t sincerely interested, and depending on the situation, you have at least three choices:

  • End the conversation

Hey, that’s not nice. But it’s nicer than feigning interest.

Because what do you do when your spouse…oops, we mean the person you’re talking with…ends their thought with a question?

Suddenly, the blood rushes to your head. Your heart starts beating faster. Your head is spinning…what are you going to do?

They’ll know you weren’t listening. Oh no!

  • Change the topic

A better choice may be to change the topic. Introduce something you are interested in or that’s more relevant. But look for cues about whether the person you’re talking with is interested as well.

  • Find a way to make it interesting

Listen is a verb. It implies action. So take action.

Inquire about something they said. Sometimes a conversation is much more interesting when you get below the surface.

Talk is cheap

Or so they say. And maybe they’re right.

Talk is an incredibly small part of communication.

Look for non-verbal cues. What do they convey?

Just make sure you don’t get so busy checking for non-verbal cues that you forget to maintain eye contact. If you do that with the wrong person, you may get slapped!

Understanding the importance of understanding

As an entrepreneurial leader, you must become a great communicator, if you aren’t already. It’s more important than ever in business today.

Dialog can occur without communication. Communication occurs at the point of understanding. When all the parties involved understand each other’s point-of-view, communication has occurred. It leads to BIGG success!

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Image in this post from Murielle

The 3 Rs of Bigg Success – Part 3

Back-to-School on chalkboardIt’s Back-to-School time and we’re in the middle of a ten-part series on lifelong learning. We started by talking about the 3 R’s from our school days – reading, writing and arithmetic. Now we’re talking about the 3 R’s of BIGG success.

So far we’ve discussed two of them – responsibility and resiliency. Today we’ll chat about the 3rd R of BIGG success – relationships.

We are living in the age of interdependence. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished by working together.
Read more

From Twitter to Star Trek – Out of this World Communication

Astro_Mike tweet.jpgYou can read our post here, but you might find it more fun to listen to today’s show. Just click on the arrow below to listen.

Mike Massimino, aka Astro_Mike, one of the astronauts on a mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, sent the social media world abuzz and made history with the first tweet from outer space.

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Hundreds of thousands of people were part of the conversation through the power of technology. Isn’t it cool that distance is no longer a barrier to communication?

This tweet came just days after the new Star Trek movie hit the theaters. So we decided to look there for examples of out of this world communication.

Miss(ed) communication

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georgeBefore we get into quotes from Star Trek, I’ve heard from several female friends that a guy on a first date should never say, “My hero is Captain James Kirk.”

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marylynn
And don’t to a Trekkie convention for your first date either! That’s not very romantic.

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georgeI think it highlights that, whether in romance or not, when you’re communicating with someone for the first time, it’s good to listen. It’s not all about you.

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marylynnTry to discover your mutual interests instead of just talking about yourself. Of course, if you do happen to be talking with a bigg fan of Star Trek, then “engage” as Captain Jean-Luc Picard would say.

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georgeThe Next Generation was my favorite of the series. I loved Picard’s leadership style and the dynamic he had with the crew, particularly #1, Commander Will T. Riker.

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“Make it so” to move to action

Another famous Picard saying. The crew would discuss the issue at hand. Picard was great at listening to the input of his team. Finally, he would say “make it so” and the discussion would end.

As the leader, you reach a point where you have to make a decision and communicate it so you and your team can get on with implementing it.

“I concur” to shorten meetings

From the Where Silence has Lease episode, Picard gives a command to abort autodestruct. The computer asks Riker if he concurs. Riker responds, “Yes, absolutely, I do indeed concur wholeheartedly!” Picard responds that a “simple ‘yes’ would have sufficed.”

This made us think of meetings. One person says something. The next person agrees with what was just said. However, they repeat everything – perhaps in different words. Nothing is added to the conversation.

It’s an important communication because it shows that there is a consensus. But instead of going on and on about the same thing, ask your team to simply say “I concur”.

Even a simple “yes” will suffice! You’ll find your meetings will be much more productive.

“Never lose you. Never.”

This quote is from The Naked Time, an episode in the original series, Captain Kirk utters these words in a room by himself.

While we may be stretching his meaning here a bit, it made us think about the most important communication of all: self-communication. You have to find a way within yourself to stay true to yourself and encourage yourself so you can keep pushing on.

All motivation is self-motivation.

Oh, but don’t forget one important rule about this one – don’t do it out loud if there are people around!

The new movie

We liked Christopher Pike’s line to Kirk:

“You've always had a hard time finding your place in this world, haven't you? Never knowing your true worth. You can settle for less in ordinary life, or do you feel like you were meant for something better? Something special."

We have a friend who says, “Do you want me to tell you what you want to hear or what you need to hear? Because I’m happy to do this either way.”

It’s not always easy to listen to what we need to hear. However, sometimes the best communication isn’t what we want to hear.

This quote from Star Trek also emphasizes that – when criticism is required – we should be constructive and move as quickly as we can to encouragement. Veer to the positive so you build up the person with whom you’re talking.

We couldn’t leave out the tribbles!

One of the most famous Star Trek episodes is The Trouble with Tribbles from the original series. Scotty explains how he finally got rid of the little creatures:

“Just before they went into warp, I beamed the whole kit and kaboodle into their engine room, where they'll be no tribble at all."

Nobody knows the tribble we’ve seen!

It’s good to inject humor into almost any conversation. Word plays are often a great source of humor. See how many ways you can use the same word or phrase to keep the laughs going!

Communication brings us, and keeps us, together. Improving communication skills is a key to being a bigg success in any world. Live long and prosper!

Do you have a favorite out of this world communication?

Please share it with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG (2444) or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks for letting us into your world today!

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Please join us next time when we take ourselves out to the ball game. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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(Image in today's post from Astro_Mike)

Unwrapping Special Gifts

gifts The other night we saw an episode of According to Jim. Jim (played by Jim Belushi) was stressing because he had not had a good year – money was tight and it was Christmas time. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to buy his kids the gifts they wanted.

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His wife, Cheryl (Courtney Thorne-Smith) pointed out to him that the kids had barely looked at the presents they got the year before. In fact, one was still in its original package – it had been unwrapped but never opened and played with!

Maybe that kid was just a collector at heart!

But this show made us think … sometimes we get caught up on getting something new and not reflecting on the gifts we already have. So today we want to unwrap some of our most special gifts.

If you want to listen to us open these gifts, just click the “play” button above. Otherwise, picture each package being opened …

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george
Why don’t you kick it off, Mary-Lynn?

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marylynnThis one is a real, real special one. It’s the gift of my Dad. He had a bit of a health scare going into the holidays. He’s fine – clean bill of health. So thank you, God. I love my gift this year! Alright George, it’s your turn.

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georgeMy gift is memories of Mom and Dad. Mom’s been gone a couple of years now so it’s still somewhat fresh, I guess. I think about the things I learned from them, the things that helped make me who I am, for better or worse – I can blame them! I had a very special Mom and Dad and I’m very thankful for that. Now, you’re up Mary-Lynn.

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marylynnOh, yes … we’ve had a cold winter here in Illinois. There have been nights when you just hear that wind outside howling and I am inside and toasty warm! So the gift of a nice warm house is something I’m very, very grateful for this year.

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georgeWe often don’t stop to think about the basics and how many people there are who don’t even have something as simple as that.

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marylynn
Exactly. Alright, George, tear into the next one.

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georgeOne of the features of our car is remote unlock. Man, as we’ve been out shopping in the cold, it’s really nice to be able to find your car quickly because it winks at us. And of course, to be able to get right in once you’re to it.

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marylynnThat’s a good one. Okay, I’ll open the next one. Ah, the gifts of our kitty cats – Fifi and Fraidy. We have original cat names, don’t we? Boy, they just give us gifts all year long … loving and purring.

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george
Yeah, and sometimes they leave us a little something on the floor!

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marylynn
We don’t like those gifts at all!

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georgeOkay, let’s open the next one. It’s for both of us, Mary-Lynn. Let’s see what it is … ah, it’s our families. You have a great family, Mary-Lynn. Love your dad and your sister.

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marylynnYou have a great family, too. Your sisters are all so fun – listening to all of the siblings laughing together. It’s just so nice!

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georgeYes, and the in-laws aren’t so bad either. A cool group of nephews and now, one little niece. And Mary-Lynn, while we’re on family, I have to say that I’m also very thankful for you.

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marylynn
Ah, that’s so sweet. I’m thankful for you too. You’re a special man!

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georgeIt brings up the point, though. I think sometimes those closest to us are the people we most take for granted. We often don’t show them the appreciation we should.

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marylynn
Yeah, I forget about you all the time, George.

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george
I know you do!

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marylynn
George, I’ve got to tell you … I think we scored this Christmas.

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georgeI’m with you on that – but Mary-Lynn, I just noticed something … over there in the corner, it looks like there’s another bigg present for us.

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marylynn
Alright, let’s open it up … ah yes, of course. This is something we’re really grateful for.

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georgeWe’re grateful for you! The fact that you spend time with us like you do – you share your insights, you listen to our show, you read our blog posts. However you spend time with us, we’re just so thankful.

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marylynnYou are the reason that we get to do what we love to do! That is such an amazing gift and we thank you so much.

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So to you we say, whatever your chosen holiday at this time of year, we wish you and yours the very best. For us, it’s Christmas … so Merry Christmas!

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The Best Present of All, No Matter How It’s Wrapped

(Image in today's post by orangeNess)

Is E-Mail Diluting Your Message?

communicate Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, is the author of Silent Messages. This book discusses his legendary research into the relative importance of verbal and non-verbal communication.

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Mehrabian’s rule

When you’re trying to communicate emotions, think about the three V’s: verbal, vocal, and visual. They are the three parts of what has become known as Mehrabian’s Rule – 7% of your message is given verbally (the words you use), 38% comes vocally (the tone you use), and 55% is delivered visually (your facial expressions and body language).

We see from his research that, when we’re trying to convey feelings or attitudes, the overwhelming majority of the message comes through non-verbally. If the verbal and non-verbal don’t agree, people will rely on the non-verbal.

Choosing your medium

Therefore, understanding the three V’s of communication helps you prevent misunderstanding. If the recipient of your message can’t hear and see you say the words, your message may get diluted.

E-mail is convenient, but it can be easily misunderstood because it’s only words. What about text messages?

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marylynnA friend of mine told me that her husband’s ex-wife texts her husband about problems with their kids. My friend gets frustrated after several rounds of nothing getting solved. She says she tells him to just call his ex-wife.

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So choose your medium carefully if you’re trying to convey feelings or attitudes. Some media only use one part of the communication trio, and a very minor one at that!

If you’re just relaying facts, e-mail is fine. If you want to express more than that, your message may get diluted. A phone call enriches the conversation because you bring in the voice. And while it’s not always possible to meet face-to-face, it is your best bet for your most sensitive communication.

Speaking of which …

Let’s apply this to a presentation, whether your audience is one or many. How you say what you say, and what you do when you say it, are actually more important, in getting your message across, than what you say.

What?

It’s hard to explain this in just words. Hey, that illustrates our point!

You can say, “I’m excited.” If you say it with enthusiasm in your voice while standing straight up, your audience will believe you. If you say it like Droopy says, “I’m happy” and slouch while you’re saying it, your audience may doubt you.

People remember the impression more than the words. So if you want to connect with an audience, it’s important to practice your inflections and your gestures to make sure they’re congruent with your words.

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Are you thinking about your New Year resolutions?
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subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly it’s free too!

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We really appreciate you reading our post today. If you listened to our show, you could’ve heard our appreciation in our voices! Join us next time when we get a visit from a very special guest – Santa Claus. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00289-121808.mp3

Related posts

Are They Hearing What You Are Saying?

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(Image in today's post by ilco)

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Bigg Success Primer

Life on Your Own Terms

Bigg Success is life on your own terms. Listen to these five shows (or read the show summaries) to quickly understand what we mean by that definition.

What is Bigg Success?

Own Your Life

The Power of Defining Your Terms

The 5 Elements of Bigg Success

The Bigg Idea Behind Bigg Success

Announcing  BIGG Success Entreprenurturing™

Our mission is to serve entrepreneurs and the organizations that serve them. this post explains why we feel this is our calling and how we help.

Entreprenurturing™ for the Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster Ride

How about you?

Tell us what “life on your own terms” means to you. What challenges are you facing in trying to live your life on your own terms? We want to highlight your stories and also gear our content to the biggest challenges that the people in the Bigg Success community are facing.

To participate, you can leave a comment on the bottom of any daily post, call us toll-free at 888-455-BIGG, or email us anytime at: bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

We look forward to getting to know you! To learn more about us, visit our About page.

Thank you so much for visiting.



Happy Scum

By Dana Mancuso
Bigg Success Contributor
08-07-08

Life Skills

pm411_logo Have you ever had a disagreement about something you've heard? I often disagree with my husband about popular song lyrics. What he hears is close to the real words in most cases, but not always.

Sometimes what you hear is a direct result of what you've already heard. Sort of like expecting to get an apple from an apple tree. You've always gotten apples from the apple tree, so you aren't going to expect an orange to be growing there. You won't hear country music from the lips of rocker Bon Jovi. Or will you?

Back in high school, I was seated in a small group next to someone from my grade school. This boy had teased me in 5th and 6th grade. In fact, he had never spoken to me in any other manner than to tease me in my entire life.

So, when he spoke to me, not only was I surprised, but my brain turned on the teasing filter. Here's what I heard when he tapped my arm:

"Happy, Scum?"

What?

"Happy, Scum?"

Oh my god, he's calling me scum!

The sentence was repeated once more before I heard what he actually said, "can I HAVE a PIECE of GUM?"

My brain had already determined that anything coming from this guy's mouth was going to be negative at best, hurtful at worst–when all he wanted was some Dentyne. (I handed him the skuzziest looking piece of gum in the pack.)

I at least make an effort not to jump to conclusions. But my brain often does it for me before I can stop it. Sometimes I do it when reading an e-mail from a coworker. (She forgot a word in the sentence, accidentally changing its meaning.) Sometimes I do it when I get an odd look from someone (He doesn't have his contacts in so he is squinting a lot.) Everyone has heard the look before you leap cliché, but it applies so well to hearing in haste, as well as to acting in haste.

Next time you're about to turn on that filter, grab a piece of gum and chew it over a bit. 

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

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The You of Today May Not Be the You of Tomorrow

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Make a Note: Paying Attention Pays Bigg

By Bigg Success Staff
07-21-08

Bigg Success in Business

sharing_successOne of the greatest product success stories of all time has to be 3M’s Post-It Notes. You may or may not be familiar with the story of their development. In case you’re not, the year was 1968. Dr. Spencer Silver discovered the “secret sauce” – the special adhesive that makes Post-It Notes … well, Post-It Notes.

There was just one problem – Dr. Silver talked about it to anyone who would listen, but no one could figure out how to use it. 

That was until six years later … 

Art Fry sang in the choir at his church. He also worked at 3M. He used a bookmark in his hymnal so he could quickly find the next song. There was just one problem – the bookmark kept falling out.

He remembered Dr. Silver’s special adhesive. He tried it out. Sure enough, the lightly- glued note gripped well, but it didn’t tear the page when it was removed. It was the perfect solution!

So what’s the point, you ask?

Dr. Silver wasn’t looking for the glue that makes Post-It Notes possible. The product idea never entered his mind. However, when he discovered the glue, he was alert enough to realize how unique it was. So he started spreading the word.

Art Fry didn’t make the initial discovery. However, he did pay attention. He remembered Dr. Silver talking about his discovery. Now he had a problem for which it was the solution! By being alert to what was going on around him, he was part of the team that created the product we know as Post-It Notes!

What’s happening around you? 

Source
3M’s Post-It Note History 

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